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Opportunities for Dialogue on Climate Change - Engaging Students on How to Get Something Done

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Monday, 5 January 2015
Stephen Lane, Carlisle Regional High School, Concord, MA; and J. A. Yuhas, E. Mushlitz, and J. Bailey-Wells

Since 2011 Stephen Lane of Concord-Carlisle High School and Jeffrey Yuhas of Morristown-Beard School have been engaging high school students on Climate Change issues through their Climate Consortium. The results of this work have been presented at the 2012 and 2013 American Meteorological Society Annual Meetings. After successfully running the initial engagement course, the question arose: What do we do with these students next?

With students from Concord-Carlisle Weather Services, Mr. Lane has created an independent, extra-curricular seminar structured around a series of discussions with experts from a variety of fields on the issue of climate change. Participants included public policy advocates, political actors, scientists, green entrepreneurs, and representatives from the energy industry. The seminar had three primary purposes: First, to engage students on the question of how to get something done about climate change; second, help students understand the wide range of priorities and perspectives of stakeholders regarding climate change; third, build connections between students and outside experts in various fields to help students understand how scientific understanding intersects with policy and business.

Students gained experience in using their science background as a basis for discussing economic and policy outcomes. Problem-solving moved from the hypothetical world of the classroom toward real world application and real-world obstacles. Further, students learned to use a solution-oriented thinking process to address the issues associated with climate change the focus shifted from the obstacles themselves to seeking paths around them.